GROW Project’s multifaceted approach to poverty reduction featured in latest issue of Enterprise Development & Microfinance Journal

Above: a woman client with her motorcycle from the GROW project

Waterloo, ON– Jen Denomy, MEDA’s Technical Director, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, co-authored the article “Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW): A Multifaceted approach to poverty alleviation at scale” recently published in the Enterprise Development & Microfinance Journal. Co-written with Jennifer Gurbin Harley, an international development consultant and former MEDA colleague, it features a case study that describes the project’s systematic approach to poverty reduction.

The journal article outlines how the project’s approach evolved from focusing on food and nutrition to strengthening the economic capacities of women and leadership by increasing their access to market linkages, agronomic information and practices, and financial services. As a result, over 23,000 small-scale women farmers and their families in Ghana benefitted by participating in GROW.

MEDA’s GROW project was critical in ensuring that families in Northern Ghana could produce nutritious food for themselves throughout the year. During this project, women farmers increased their agricultural production, strengthened their links to markets, diversified the food they produced, and increased their understanding of nutrition. Women farmers also gained technical assistance and financial literacy training to make sound nutritional choices for their families and better manage their financial resources.

“The legacy of the GROW program will be the sustainability of its proven model, which shifted the food security paradigm from subsistence farming to a multifaceted economic empowerment powerhouse for GROW women. It impacted women, their households, their communities, and their region. In 2018, GROW reached 23,368 women farmers cultivating soybeans in rural Ghana’s Upper West Region.”

— Jennifer Denomy and Jennifer Gurbin Harley, “Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW): A Multifaceted approach to poverty alleviation at scale

Jennifer Denomy and Jennifer Gurbin Harley are pleased for their article to be featured in the Enterprise Development & Microfinance Journal to showcase the proven strategies supporting women to launch and grow thriving agri-businesses, assume leadership positions and take a more active role in family and community decision-making.

“Women’s economic empowerment is just the tip of the iceberg. Unleashing women’s potential changes lives. Writing this journal article allowed us to revisit GROW, which was hugely impactful in Northern Ghana and was the foundation for our exciting new work on GROW2. As part of the continuation of this project, we will be working at the level of agri-food systems, to make them function better for everyone, particularly women farmers and agribusiness owners.”

— Jennifer Denomy and Jennifer Gurbin Harley

MEDA has a long history of working in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, captured in our library of publications, including our Women’s Economic Empowerment: Transforming Systems Through Development Practice, a practitioner handbook, written and edited by MEDA staff.

You can also access more engaging content on GROW, including the GROW Learning Series.



  • MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

    MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. We work in agri-food market systems, focusing primarily on women and youth in rural communities in the Global South. Our success is measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge, and the creation of decent work.

Latest Posts

How digital finance creates decent work for women in agriculture

February 6, 2023

With equal access to resources, women could contribute much more to the economy. The FAO estimates that if women farmers...

Listen to our take on the state of agriculture today!

February 2, 2023

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve joined the podcast universe! Four MEDA staff members have contributed to the “Let’s Talk...

The Face of Sustainably Produced Cacao: MEDA’s Approach in Integrating Gendered Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) in the Philippine Cacao Market System

February 1, 2023

Globally, the face of sustainably produced or sourced cocoa tends to be more of an environmental concern. Historically, cacao production...